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undersan

Turn-based Tennis (playable prototype)

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I had this half-baked idea for a turn-based tennis game, so I made a prototype. There is no AI; you have to play against yourself or hotseat. The game is pretty boring as-is! I'd love to get some ideas from you guys on how to make it more fun, without resorting to twitch, pong-style gameplay. I'm sure there are many applicable concepts from the RTS and RPG genres. turn_based_tennis.exe (1.5 MB) The power and accuracy modifiers should be somewhat intuitive. If your opponent's shot is barely within reach or the ball is very low at your feet, you are penalized. You get a power bonus when hitting a high ball (an overhead smash). There's no topspin or slice (yet), but there's an artillery-style interface for power and angle.

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man thats great! i think that style of play would work well on a mobile phone; reminds me of a tennis version of worms somehow :)
If only you could integrate ninjas into it... that would make it fun

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some ideas:

instead of power and angle, how about areas that you can shoot the ball towards? of course the width, angle shape of the area will depend on your speed, direction, skill, etc. after picking where you like the ball to go, you can pick where you want to go, also shown as an area depending on your current momentum etc .

ex:
1.opponent hits/serves, just as the racket hits his ball, the game pauses. you are made to pick where in the court you would like to go. You can probably provide clues to where the opponent will send the ball. example is a high "tennis sense" attribute will show the shaded area the opponent can send the ball. A low "tennis sense" wont show anything and the player will have to guess which way the ball comes or just hope his speed is enough to catch the ball.

2. You pick a spot, animation continues and if you reach the ball in time, the game pauses again.
3. You pick a spot in the other court to hit the ball. the area depends on your momentum, direction, etc from the previous choice. if you moved a small bit then you have more control, moving a long way towards the ball will limit your options to where to send the ball (of course skill attributes and other factors affect as well)
4. you hit the ball and wait for the opponent to hit the ball
5. go to step 1.

some player types:
low tennis sense but high speed , low control - can't tell where shot will go next but fast enough to usually hit the ball. very limited area to return though . predictable player but hard to beat since he can return shots

high tennis sense , high control and low speed - can know where the ball is going but can be beaten by long shots to capitalize on low speed. knowing where the ball will land is useless if you can't get to it. main weapon is the ability to place the ball in a large range to confuse, tire opponents.

tired opponents drop speed or control , etc.

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I like your idea. Lots.

But how about instead of making it a turn-based game, make it a tick-based game instead. For example, two players are playing against each other. After the server, player 1 is about to hit the ball. The game pauses and starts counting down from 4 seconds, during which time, player 1 has to make his choice about how he is going to hit the ball/where they will hit the ball/how they will hit the ball, where they will move the player after they hit the ball. During this same pause time, player 2 is deciding how they are going to react/defend against player 1's hit. If they don't react appropriately or in time, they might not even get a chance to hit the ball back.

Alot of the fun of the game will be in the frantic, fast paced action of it all. Of course the interface will have to be very well designed so that the players are indeed competing against one another, and not just struggling against the interface.

As each volley progresses, the timer gets shorter and shorter, adding to the excitement. Certain abilities will allow you to make the timer speed up faster, while rarer abilities might allow you to take it back a notch.

Once a volley is over, the timer goes back to it's standard 4 seconds.

You can think up all sorts of other abilities/special feats to add in there.

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Music!

Sounds!

Sprites!

A bigger field, perhaps? It's kinda hard to win...

And special attacks. When a bar on the side iis filled, you can press a button to use a VERY high speed shot that behaves like a normal hit.

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Thanks for your feedback, guys. The tennis sense attribute is great--very fun and very realistic! I like the decreasing timer, too. It's a good way to avoid long, boring, stalemate rallies.

One nice aspect of non-real-time is that a single user can control a doubles team. I especially like the idea of picking attributes for two teammates instead of just one--makes for so many more combinations.

Something I'm still completely lacking is "mid-term" (match) strategy. I mean, there is plenty of short-term strategy (more like tactics) for winning a point. And, there is long-term strategy for upgrading your players' stats over the course of a season. But, what can a player do in the first set of a match to help win the second? I hate the idea of every point in the entire match playing out basically the same.

Any more thoughts are appreciated!

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well I guess stamina draining can be a big factor, you let the opponent chase the ball around, he'll be more tired during the next matches. lets say once your current stamina passes the 10% mark your total stamina drops for the next match.

another is repetitive shots. If you always hit the ball cross court the first few matches, the opponent might be conditioned to run to the opposite corner when you are hitting. changing the pattern during later matches will mess up the opponents sense.

another suggestion is skills or special moves. players can have a limited number of skills like
"super smash" - faster than normal smash
"ace" - faster, more accurate service
"clay court specialist" - has bonuses on clay courts
slices, drops, spins can be part of the arsenal of the player. You have to be careful of the opponents specialties and try to set up the shots to capitalize on your own. example is if both players have the super smash skill, you'd better give the opponent low shots so he can't use his skill while trying to get your opponent to return a high shot for the kill.


edit: to put limits on the skills maybe a skills can only be used a limited number of times in a game or drains stamina.

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